Saturday, February 15, 2020

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day Forty-Five

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary!

Yesterday I posted a little bit in regard to this post(XP Started as One of D&D’s Breakthrough Ideas. Now the Designers Don’t See the Point ) at the DM DAVID  blog.

Today I am going to look at the remainder of the post in a little more detail. This might even stretch over a few days. I never know how much I have to say until I sit down and start writing. ;)

DM David says that Arneson originally awarded players 1 XP for each hit point worth of monsters they killed, but he kept everything behind the screen and the players really did not know the mechanics, he just told them when they leveled up. He further says:
His method for awarding experience certainly evolved. In a 1978 interview, Dave Arneson recalled awarding experience for characters who used skills associated with their class. “Each player increases in ability in a given area by engaging in an activity in that area. For a fighter this meant by killing opponents (normal types of monster), their ability to strike an opponent and avoid the latter’s blows was increased.”
DM David says:
While realistic, awarding experience points (XP) for different activities could have split groups to work their separate professions. If characters gained, say, spellcasting ability through endless hours of practice and study, players would face choosing between the fun of exploring dungeons and the drudgery of practice. 
He then quotes Gygax about "realistic" vs "playable" from the AD&D DMG (Dungeon Master Guide). Then shows a quote of what kind of thinking a quest for "realism" can lead to:
In the pursuit of realism, Chivalry & Sorcery (1977) took study so seriously that the authors argue that magic users shouldn’t leave their labs at all. “What real ‘experience’ is to be had in a dark, damp dungeon?”
He says: 

Gary saw dungeon expeditions as the second compelling innovation in Dave’s game. To succeed, the budding D&D game needed a way to lure every character into the dungeon, and then to reward their risk taking. 

And talks about stocking the underworld with to motivate the hunt for treasure saying:
Gary wrote, “If you, the real you, were an adventurer, what would motivate you more that the lure of riches?”
The proof of that is the history of every gold rush that ever happened. Men do and have gone anywhere and took any risk to strike it rich. Although that history shows that the ones who get rich are not the miners for the most part with some exceptions, but the ones who separate the miners from their gold in a wide variety of ways.

While I have always loved dungeons, I have never exclusively focused on them like some of you do. Yes, I love my mega dungeons and I have run players into some huge ones, one was the inside of a four mile tall mountain that was honey-combed from the top all the way to way below the base(that is a story for another day). But I also love the wilderness, the oceans, the deserts, the mountains, the forests and the plains as well as the cities, the towns, the villages, the hamlets, the thorps and so forth.

The lure of treasure for me was the magic items. I loved creating them and I liked to create very unique one of a kind items. While as a player, I always wanted to get something very unique and very one of a kind, something that was only suited to the character I was playing. I am still hoping that happens, if I could split into two people I would just play in my own game. 

But DM David's article is about XP (experience points) and unlike Arneson, Gygax and the rules, I have never given out XP for killing anything. I give out XP for gold and treasure, but not for magic items themselves. I give out XP for roleplay and for great ideas, for putting the group ahead of yourself, for out of the box thinking and for making connections, from bread crumbs, that most people never notice that I spread out. I like to hide things in plain sight and players that take a closer look are well rewarded. 

Players that remember to look up (almost no one does) and to look down, especially at times you  would ordinarily forget to do that are players that earn extra XP and other rewards. But for killing things, no, no matter how tough and even if they were super lucky to survive the fight, I do not give out XP for killing things from day one till now.

But more on this tomorrow.

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